Since the peace journalism project was launched 25 years ago (Kempf 1996, Galtung 1998), research and development has mainly focused on reporting on wars or war-like conflicts. Since the concepts of peace journalism were initially developed in response to the Gulf War of 1990/91 and the post-Yugoslav civil wars, this is not surprising. On the other hand, Galtung (1998) accuses so-called war journalism of reporting only after the outbreak of violence, turning to the next conflict arena after the end of the war and returning only when the old conflict flares up again.
The peace journalist research community has to put up with the same accusation, however, and there are only a few studies that deal with reporting on political conflicts below the threshold of violence – e.g. the Rio-San-Juan-Conflict between Costa Rica und Nicaragua (Gutiérrez-Villalobos 2005) or the Franco-German conflict over the presidency of the European Central Bank in 1997 (Plontz 2006) – and / or with post-war reporting – e.g. on ex-Yugoslavia after the fall of Milosevic (PFKN 2005) or the Franco-German reconciliation after 1945 (Jaeger 2009).
These are primarily empirical studies that demonstrate the escalation-oriented bias of conventional conflict reporting, its tendency to weaken in post-war reporting and its overcoming when peace and reconciliation are on the political agenda. However, guidelines for preventive reporting on (still) slightly to moderately escalated conflicts were only developed by Reimann (2019) and put up for discussion in conflict & communication online, Vol. 18, No. 2.
The present issue of our journal takes up this topic again. Wilhelm Kempf develops recommendations for constructive reporting on negotiations; Wassilios Baros, Aida Delic & Themistoklis Moutsisis present the results of an empirical study on the coverage of the German-Greek conflict over reparations for the war damage from World War II, and Benyamin Neuberger & Keren-Miriam Adam report on how Israeli journalists position themselves in relation to the media's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the political crisis in Israel.
The issue is completed by the documentation of an essay by Tejan Lamboi, which takes the murder of George Floyd in the USA as an opportunity to put a finger on everyday racism in Germany and, following Angela Davis, argues that "in a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist. We must be anti-racist."
Galtung, J. (1998). Friedensjournalismus: Was, warum, wer, wie wann und wo? In: Kempf, W. & Schmidt-Regener, I. (eds.). Krieg, Nationalismus, Rassismus und die Medien. Münster: Lit, 3-20. English version: Peace journalism: What, why, who, how, when, where? In: Kempf, W. (ed.) (2008) The Peace Journalism Controversy. Berlin: regener, 34-49.
Gutiérrez-Villalobos, S. (2005). Pro-conflict and pro-cooperation coverage: The San Juan River conflict. conflict & communication online, 4/1.
Jaeger, S. (2009). Nachrichtenmedien als Ressource für Frieden und Versöhnung. Inhaltsanalytische Pressestudien zur westdeutschen Berichterstattung nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg. Berlin: regener
Kempf, W. (1996). Konfliktberichterstattung zwischen Eskalation und Deeskalation. Wissenschaft & Frieden, 14/2, 51-54. English version: News coverage of conflict: Between escalation and de-escalation. In: Kempf, W. (ed.) (2008). The Peace Journalism Controversy. Berlin: regener, 11-18.
PFKN (Projektgruppe Friedensforschung Konstanz) (ed.) (2005). Nachrichtenmedien als Mediatoren von Peace-Buildung, Demokratisierung und Versöhnung in Nachkriegsgesellschaften. Berlin: regener.
Plontz, A. (2006). Der deutsch-französische Konflikt um die Präsidentschaft der Europäischen Zentralbank in der deutschen und französischen Presse. conflict & communication online, 5/1.
Reimann, M. (2019). Peace journalism in marginally to moderately escalated conflicts: Conflict theoretical foundations, variables and reportage patterns. conflict & communication online 18/2.
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